In what has largely been an entertaining pickup game at the Impact Compeititve Basketball Series in Las Vegas, just about nobody has been more entertaining than J.J. Hickson.
The guy plays above the rim. Kings fans drool thinking about him on the wings of the break with Tyreke Evans running the show and DeMarcus Cousins as the trailer. (Hopefully they get to see that sooner rather than later.)
Here’s an example of Hickson making a poster Tuesday night. Hat tip to SLAM for the video find.
Day two of the Impact Competitive Training Series out in Las Vegas saw some interesting run but still lacked star power. That is expected to change, by the way, with the arrival of John Wall on Wednesday.
Talking to a couple people there, the style is a wide-open, pickup style. That means it’s pretty entertaining to watch but again, we caution you not to make any “good in Vegas = good in the NBA” assumptions.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com is still in Vegas and listed these three as having big days:
Josh Selby, G, Memphis — It was just a couple years ago that Selby was the best high school player in the nation in part because of his ability to score in bunches. He did just that on Tuesday with a 42-point eruption along with dishing out seven assists.
J.J. Hickson, F, Sacramento — Nobody has dominated above-the-rim play the way Hickson has this week. And if you made the mistake of getting in his way (see Jeremy Evans), prepare to be posterized. On Tuesday, he had 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Kyle Lowry, G, Houston — Known more as a combo scoring guard, Lowry showed some serious play-making skills with an 18-point, 20-assist performance in a blowout win.
Amar’e Stoudemire is doing it with the Knicks. Zach Randolph is doing it with the Grizzlies.
Now Tyreke Evans may do it with the Kings — set up practices during the lockout. That’s what he told Cowbell Kingdom during a podcast.
“I was thinking about that, calling some of the players up, trying to get them to Sacramento early. I know it’s going to be pretty hard for the rookies because they haven’t set up yet with (homes). But I mean, the guys that have been playing, the veterans and the guys who have been playing a couple years on our team…I was definitely thinking of calling them up and (trying) to get a local gym in Sacramento and having a training camp.”
For a young team with a lot of new parts, team-run practices like that can really help. There is a steep learning curve with the Kings — J.J. Hickson and Jimmer Fredette are new and going to play big roles along with Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, plus John Salmons will get a lot of touches. The more they can get used to each other before the lockout ends, the better.
The only really interesting pre-lockout trade in the NBA was the Cavaliers sending J.J. Hickson to the Sacramento Kings for Omri Casspi and a future pick (likely first rounder but there are a number of protections on it).
Generally, it is thought the Kings won that trade (they got the better player). But there is also certainly some interest around the league in the Israeli Casspi, as Marc Stein of ESPN noted on twitter.
Word is Knicks/Spurs still hot for Casspi and checked in to see if they could wedge their way into last trade fun of 2010-11. But … Cavs told ’em they traded for Casspi with intent to keep him. GM Chris Grant says Cavs have liked Casspi since Kings drafted him in 2009
Interesting. If the Cavs do decide down the line they need to make another move to get a specific piece, don’t be shocked if Casspi’s name comes up in the rumors. There is interest in him from teams around the league.
Multiple reports now have the deal done, one trade right before the deadline.
The Cavaliers and Kings will swap young forwards, with J.J. Hickson going to the Kings for Omri Casspi. This deal may be the last before lockout begins at midnight, according to a tweet from Marc Stein or ESPN. The Cavaliers also would get a conditional first round pick from the Kings (lottery protected for one year, top 10 protected in the second year).
Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated confirms that Casspi has been told he likely will be traded in the next few hours. The Sacramento Bee is reporting the trade as done (as do other outlets now).
The two are both young forwards who play the same position (essentially, Casspi is listed as a three, Hickson a four, but both operate inside and out), but their games are very different. Hickson is an athletic, slashing forward who gets most of his shots at the rim and is not a great jump shooter. Hickson has improved as a rebounder in his three years in the league.
Hickson seemed a likely guy to be traded once the Cavaliers took Tristan Thompson No. 4 in the NBA Draft last week. Sacramento will likely use DeMarcus Cousins at the four and five and Hickson at the three and four, with Jason Thompson in the mix — that is a young and athletic front line.
Casspi has NBA shooting range — he hit 37 percent from three — but is not a guy who can attack the paint the same way. Hickson was a more productive player, but Casspi felt he was not used properly in Sacramento. With him the Cavaliers get some real toughness — the guy has fire in him. Fans will like him.
Both are on their rookie deals, so the salaries match up.